Posted on: January 1, 2013 Posted by: Cole Ruth Comments: 0


I’m finally getting around to checking off my lists: I just checked off #3 on 2012’s list of resolutions: Make roots.

I feel more and more certain that almost everything else will follow – that making roots is essential to succeeding at all my other goals. Starting with last year’s #4: eat well on $5 a day. Today I bought all my ingredients and in the next few days I will be testing out my first menus, prior to posting them. Look for the first week of $5-a-day menus to start this Friday!

You are what’s in your pantry
When you go from living a nomadic lifestyle and spending a lot of time on boats, you realize how much people take something as simple as a refrigerator for granted. Suddenly I have all this storage space. There’s so much I can do! Like stock my pantry. With the bushel of persimmons I brought back from my friend’s parents’ orchard, I made this yummy chutney, I pickled some of them, and I plan to oven-dry the rest.

Having chutneys and pickles on-hand makes it easy to eat well for less. Because all I have to do now is make naan bread (the total cost of which would be about a dollar) or get one of those boxes of stuffing from the dollar store and take some turkey out of the freezer.

Persimmon Chutney
Honestly, I have to admit that I watched Martha Stewart’s persimmon chutney video. I made chutney on the boat all the time and could’ve made a successful batch without it, but she does give a nice overview of the two persimmon varieties. I pretty used her base, but adapted it because I had neither fresh ginger nor jalapenos on-hand. And I like my chutneys to have a hint of what I call the dark spices: cloves, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom or nutmeg.

1 c. apple cider vinegar
1 c. brown sugar
1 Red onion, finely diced
1 honeycrisp apple, finely diced
5-6 persimmons, cut in wedges
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 t. cayenne pepper
1/2 t. dried ginger
2-3 dashes of ground allspice
1/4 t. salt (plus a tad more to taste)
Freshly ground black pepper

I simmered them altogether until the liquid reduced. Then I packed it into a container. It’ll last a few weeks in the fridge.

Pickled Persimmons
While researching persimmons, I learned they were from Japan (Martha goes into this as well in the above-mentioned video). So I figured that the Japanese would be all about pickling those suckers. Recalling a delicious plum paste sushi roll I had once, I thought a pickled persimmon would make a great accompaniment to sushi or Korean BBQ beef on rice.

I found this recipe for refrigerator pickled and then altered it slightly like so:

5 ripe Fuyu persimmons
3 t. white mustard seeds
1 t. red pepper flakes
2 bay leaves
2 t. salt
1/2 c. rice vinegar
1/2 c. white vinegar
1/2 c. cider vinegar
¼ c. sugar

Dissolve the vinegar and spices together in a saucepan. Let cool. Add to sliced persimmons.